Land board says no to event center

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

An application to open a community event center in the old skating rink building on Curtis Road was denied by the Panola County Land Development Commission at its regular monthly meeting held at the Sardis Courthouse last Monday, April 11.

Patrick Coleman filed the application to open Zero Event Center located in the building at 12083 Curtis Rd., about a mile outside the City of Batesville incorporated limits.

Coleman told commissioners he wanted to open a place that would host parties and celebrations. His plans were to allow groups renting the venue to bring their own alcohol, but not be open for regular bar or nightclub business.

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Sheriff Shane Phelps attended the meeting and told commissioners his officers would strictly enforce county and state ordinances if approved, but indicated that allowing what would essentially be a club setting on some nights would place extra burden on his road deputies.

Coleman may appeal the Land Commission’s decision to the Board of Supervisors, who has the authority to overturn the ruling with a majority vote of the five supervisors. Coleman had 10 days to make the appeal.

County supervisors two years ago overturned the decision of the Land Commission to not allow the re-opening of Rolling Hills Bar & Grill located on Hwy. 315N between the Town of Sardis and the Sardis Lake state park.

The bar, the only establishment of its kind in Panola County for several years, had closed when the property owner was recovering from sickness and was seeking to re-open under different management.

The Land Commission denied the request but the supervisors voted 4-1 to allow its opening, although the new owner scrapped his plans when the pandemic began. Rolling Hills is a unique case because it sits adjacent to one of the county’s oldest churches and is close to several homes. The building remains vacant.

The property on Curtis Road is owned by Lawrence Hoskins, who has leased the building for similar purposes in the last few years. It is not close to any houses or other businesses, but lies outside the jurisdiction of the Batesville Police Department in an area that can only be patrolled by Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The Land Commission approved an application by Anthony Harris of Batesville to open the Sugar Shack at the location in 2019. That business was short-lived however because Covid restrictions shut down all types of bars and restaurants a few months after it opened.

The Board of Supervisors will likely hear an appeal by Coleman to open Zero Event Center at one of its upcoming meetings either May 2 at the Sardis Courthouse or May 9 at the Batesville Courthouse.